To: Carol Ajie Esq.
From: Sylvester Udemezue
Dear Learned Senior, from the message you sent out today, you have left no one in doubt that you are fighting and attacking Paul Usoro only because he “failed” to nominate you for an International Bar Association (IBA) Council job, as you had requested. I begin by reproducing your own words, as you wrote it, unedited:
“You know Abdul Rasheed Oladimeji aka Murray NBA immediate past Chief of Staff. He campaigned for AB Mahmoud SAN in 2016 to get elected. You know Murray now he cannot send one campaign message without collecting millions from the presidential candidate. I don’t know all of Mahmoud SAN s sponsors but Sanusi Fmr CBN Gov and AB were hands in gloves. Anyway Murray worked hard on AB Mahmoud SAN s campaign and he won. The Muslims never quarrel with their King makers. Why are Christians always like that. Not that I asked for a farthing. Not that I asked to be President by proxy o. Not that I gave Usoros he and his wife any list to say these are my lawyers patronize them. All I said was IBA Council which is even a none paying position. IBA does not pay a dime to anyone whoever they are you attend meetings all over the World with your money. But you have to have expertise and knowledge of international law and a solid IBA background. All I said was don’t put a mediocre there. A none paying office and he started fighting me. I told the Usoros please don’t fight this is not a time for Christians to fight. A more important election is coming 2019 you should behave responsibly and they started behaving like being “stupid’. See where it landed them in the dock on ten count money laundering charge a whole NBA Président. First in NBA history.” (Per Carol Ajie).
When I saw the statement, I could not believe you wrote those words. Hence, I forwarded the same to you for your confirmation, which you promptly gave. Here is your message to me, confirming the statement: “I am expressing my right. The constitution protects it, you know.”
From the above statement, dear learned Senior and Georgetown Scholar, you appear to be saying two major things, namely –
- That your campaign and mudslinging against the Paul Usoro are borne out of vindictiveness — i.e., because he did not give you the appointments or nominations you had sought. In other words, your desire and plan, which you’re working hard at, are solely to get back at Mr. Usoro to ventilate grudges which you hold against him as a result of the aforesaid. I see!
- That your efforts may have contributed or indeed led to the filing of a ten-count charge against Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN, at the Federal High Court. In other words, Paul Usoro could have escaped prosecution if he had heeded your request and nominated you to the IBA Council. Your words clearly confirm this. Says Carol Ajie: “I told the Usoros please don’t fight this is not a time for Christians to fight. A more important election is coming 2019 you should behave responsibly and they started behaving like being “stupid’. See where it landed them in the dock on ten count money laundering charge a whole NBA President. First in NBA history.”
Anyway, this is not the focus of my current letter. I leave Nigerian lawyers to use their tongue to count their teeth; they are well enlightened, rational and intellectually gifted. My focus now is the personal message you sent to me today accusing me of “being paid by Paul Usoro to write for him.” Below is your personal message to me:
“Sylvester, how much were you paid by the accused person facing his trial to insult your intellectual superior. I didn’t collect a dime from the Usoros and see how much I worked my hands sore and you write after your candidate Ojukwu lost, you write for the winner we labored for and collect rewards you don’t earn. Bye now, read your lines, paid agent of Usoros.”
Dear respected Learned Senior, you allege I am paid to write for rule of law – for Usoro to neither resign nor step aside? With the greatest respect, dear Madam, that allegation of yours is real laughable, funny and, you know, 100 per cent baseless. You know I am beyond being bought. I cannot be bought over by anyone. I didn’t know Usoro. And I didn’t support him during the NBA 2018 elections, based on principle. I still don’t know Usoro. But I hate injustice and oppression. I hate witch-hunt and backbiting. I hate frivolities as well as any suppression of rule of law and due process. Hence I started writing against those six evils. My position is clear: If Paul Usoro is found guilty of any offence in a court of law, let him be punished accordingly. Until the court decides, because only the court can decide, let Paul Usoro remain the NBA President. It is unnecessary and illegal to ask him to step aside or resign on account of unproven allegations having nothing whatsoever to do with NBA affairs. I stand by my position. I do not support corruption, but I won’t support illegality or injustice. I do not write for money, and I do not ask for nor accept money to write, because NO one can pay my price. I do not write or ask for material gains because I am content with what I have. Besides, I am neither self-centered nor materialistic. All my writings are swayed by Rule of Law, Due Process and sustenance of democratic constitutionalism in our multi-faceted country. It all started in 2003! I write based on principle and nothing more; but more importantly, I do not know how to insult people; so, I do NOT insult people. I cannot insult anyone. I just take and maintain my position, respectfully. Learned senior, I cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time. I cannot be writing against insults and to condemn mudslinging and at the same time writing to insult people. I recognize and respect differences in opinions. I have urged all lawyers to respect divergence in opinions. See my article titled, On the Irresponsibility of Replying Critics & Divergent Opinions with Insults & Mudslinging (https://thenigerialawyer.com/on-the-irresponsibility-of-replying-critics-divergent-opinions-with-insults-mudslinging-a-word-of-caution-by-sylvester-udemezue/)
Further, learned senior, several of my earlier writings have been attested to by later court decisions in Nigeria. They’re legion. But a few examples would help to enlighten us.
- I had in 2015 written severally against the call then for Bukola Saraki’s resignation on account of unproven corruption allegations filed against him at the Nigerian Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). I had then stood my ground on your OurCountryNigeria YahooGroup Forum, contending that my position was more in consonance with the dictates of rule of law than that of those opposed to me. What happened thereafter? Dr. Saraki won all his cases up to the apex court, thus attesting to the justness and reasonableness of my stand. What if he had resigned and later got acquitted? Would there have been any opportunity for him to be reinstated? Your guess is as good as mine.
- I wrote in 2016 that Abuja, FCT constitutionally deserved to have at least one Federal Minister, as of right. Some of the very senior lawyers in this country had opposed my stand. I did not move because I believed I was with the rule of law. See my humble opinion on this: Why Nigeria Must Always Have a Minimum of Thirty-Seven (37) Ministers for the Government of the Federation (http://adviceafrica.blogspot.com/2016/07/why-nigeria-must-always-have-minimum-of.html) (See also (https://www.newsheadlines.com.ng/latest-sun-newspapers/2015/11/04/why-nigeria-must-always-have-37-ministers-1/) .
What happened thereafter? In January 2018, the Court of Appeal confirmed FCT Abuja’s rights in this respect and ordered Nigeria to immediately appoint a Federal Minister from among Abuja indigenes. See this article: Between a Court of Appeal Judgment & the Claim by Abuja Indigenes on the Recent Earth Tremor in Abuja: Have Our Ancestors Assumed the Role of Enforcers of Rule of Law? (https://dnllegalandstyle.com/2018/between-a-court-of-appeal-judgment-the-claim-by-abuja-indigenes-on-the-recent-earth-tremor-in-abuja-have-our-ancestors-assumed-the-role-of-enforcers-of-rule-of-law-by-sylvester-udemezue/)
- Earlier, in September 2010, I had written against the position of Nigerian governors who had sought tenure elongation. I had then argued that they could not be allowed to have their cake and eat it at the same time. Please, read: Tenure Extension: Governors Cannot Eat Their Cake & Have It (https://www.thenigerianvoice.com/news/35262/tenure-extension-governors-cannot-eat-their-cake-have-it.html) or Nigeria: Governors Can’t Get Tenure Extension (https://allafrica.com/stories/201009230536.html).
What happened thereafter? The Supreme Court of Nigeria buttressed my point; told the governors the same thing I had told them; one cannot have one’s cake and it. See this: Supreme Court Judgement On Tenure Extension: Matters Arising (http://saharareporters.com/2012/01/28/supreme-court-judgement-tenure-extension-matters-arising)
This list is not exhaustive. I could go on. Yet, I personally do not know anyone among all the affected persons. And have never met any one of them. I am not here to showcase myself, but to show you I do not write for money, nor based on sentiments. I write for the promotion of rule of law and due process. Besides, I do not get angry when my candidate loses an election; neither would I get upset when my candidate wins but fails to give me an IBA, NJC or Benchers appointments. I have the spirit of sportsmanship, and I support whoever emerges winner in a contest. Someone has to lose! And someone has to win because nature abhors vacuum. Besides, I know I am not the only lawyer in a Nigeria; leaders appoint whomever they please. A fan or supporter ought to not force himself or herself on the leaders. And if I were in your shoes, I would not engage in this emotional, sloppy, unjustified and unjustifiable denunciations and disparagements against a leader, just because I was not given what I asked the leader for.
It is not a crime for you to have asked to be given IBA, NJC or Benchers’ positions upon Paul Usoro’s ascension to the NBA throne. But, with due respect, Ma, it is most unfair on Paul Usoro for you to suddenly turn around and start badmouthing your own “candidate.” Does it mean that you were supporting Paul Usoro during NBA elections, only so you would turn around and try to pull him down? Was your “support” for Paul Usoro during the 2018 elections, for personal gains? Was it all about what you had hoped to benefit from his leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association? Are you saying that you must pull him down for no reason other than that he failed or refused to allow you to dictate to him or become a political Godfather/Godmother to him? What an irony? Dear Madam, think about this in your private, quiet time, as a true Christian! Permit me to draw your attention to these wise words by K.P. Yohannan: “the most unhappy people in the world are the ones who live only for themselves. All that they do, they do only for their own sake. For these self- centered individuals, the most precious things in the world is their ‘self.’ Like a cancer that eats and destroys its own cells, the self-centered individual is slowly dying inwardly. “
Learned Senior, from your own words, reproduced above, it appears that you know very well that you are standing rule of law upside-down, yet you fight on because you want to settle personal scores with Mr. Usoro. It is so unfair because I know you on OurCountryNigeria to be a woman of justice. What has happened? I respect you a lot. I agree you’re a great activist. You’re doing your best for the NBA. You’re an intellectual. I agree with all these, which is why I hold you in high regard. I truly admire your doggedness. However, on this Usoro matter, you got it all wrong; you have missed the point. You’re 100 per cent wrong, with due respect. But if, as you said, you’re fighting Usoro only because he didn’t nominate you for certain appointments, then, in all honesty, you’re not fighting for the NBA, neither are you fighting corruption. I am hence not surprised that you are not happy. It is natural. Says Albeit Einstein, “a life directed chiefly toward the fulfillment of personal desires will sooner or later always lead to bitter disappointment.”
I am happy that you have confessed about the reasons for your campaign for Paul Usoro’s resignation over unproven allegations in spite of the presumption of innocence provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and the African Charter on Human & People’s Right (Ratification & Enforcement) Act. I am happy that, from your own self-induced confession and admission, all Nigerian lawyers now know those who are behind the illegal, unconstitutional call for Paul Usoro to stand down from a position into which he was overwhelmingly elected by Nigerian lawyers. I am happy Nigerian Lawyers can now see through the entire conspiratorial scheming and unjust shenanigans and monkeyshines against the Paul Usoro NBA Presidency, where they all are coming from and the real reasons they keep coming against Paul Usoro. I am happy that Nigerian Lawyers now know it is an egotistical, egocentric, and egoistic fight for personal gains or vendetta. I am happy Nigerian Lawyers can now see why we have been advocating, and why all hands must be on deck to ensure, that Paul Usoro must never resign and thus succumb to cheap blackmail from self-interested lawyers and vindictive partisan jobbers. Dear Paul Usoro, Learned Silk, Sir, you now see more reasons to move ahead with your sagacious leadership of the NBA, undistracted, undaunted and unhindered. You must neither resign nor step aside. Rule of law must prevail, as it did in Saraki’s case. I said it then. I am saying it again. I was proven right then. I would by God’s Grace be proven right in this one. So, in line with rule of law, I humbly advise respected learned senior and elder, Carol Ajie Esq, and indeed all those who feel, rightly or wrongly, that they have personal scores to settle with Paul Usoro to secure the Hon Attorney General’s (AGF’s) fiat and thereafter take their grievances and cases before the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos (the theatre of legal war) to take over prosecution from the EFCC and serve as private prosecutors or persecutors or watching-brief attorneys. With the support of Nigerian lawyers, the Paul Usoro presidency of the NBA would terminate but not until August 2020 when Paul Usoro is scheduled to hand over to an elected president from the West side of Nigeria. That is the point I am making. And that is where I stand. The revelation by you that you’re only engaged in personal vendetta has only encouraged me to maintain my ground because I would never join in anything that is illegal, unjust or unconstitutional. “A people eager to prejudge guilt as opposed to innocence, are a people ripe and ready to become a despot’s ‘willing executioners’” (A.E. Samaan).
First, you removed me from your privately-owned YahooGroup forum, OurCountryNigeria, on account only of the fact I hold a different opinion. Now, you accuse me of writing for money or of being paid to write. Regarding these, I take solace in the Bible book of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “love is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, …, endures all things.” Before her glorious death into martyrdom, Mother Teresa had encouraged us to love all people, even though, as she said, “people would remain unrealistic, illogical and self-centered,” like we see today. With these I mmutable words in mind, and in respect of your undeserved, frivolous and feeble allegation against me, I would, like Thomas Hill advised, “let angry words be answered with a kiss.” Besides, I am not unaware of Socrates’ declaration that when the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. I rest my case. God bless the Usoro presidency. God bless and promote Nigeria lawyers and the NBA. Amen 🙏
Rest assured of my continued high regards.
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